Code Red Diet is designed by celebrity nutritionist and former boxer Cristy Nickel. It is targeted at people who want to lose weight and don’t have the time to hit the gym. The code red diet promises to decrypt weight-loss dieting and gives you 10 simple rules to help shed up to 10 pounds a month.
Code Red Diet – Introduction
“CODE RED is a rallying cry for every person who is fed up with the information overload, complicated diets, and extreme exercise programs.” — coderedlifestyle.com
Most people that look up a diet program are usually unhappy with their body weight. Over the years, a variety of diets have cropped up to fill the diet program demand and supply void — metabolic confusion, IIFYM, keto, paleo, optavia, intermittent fasting, 14-day boiled egg diet, and flexible dieting are some of the most popular dieting programs right now.
However, it should be noted that most of the new diet programs that have been propping up lately are fads. So, it will be interesting to see if the code red diet holds water.
Code Red Diet is a high-fat and low-carb diet that emphasizes eating plant-based foods — though meat consumption is not restricted. The nutrition structure of the diet resembles the keto diet.
The code red lifestyle first turned heads with its (not so humble) claim of being effective in helping people shed 10 pounds per month without any “shakes, diet pills, diet foods or exercise.”
Code Red Lifestyle – Review
Basic tenets of the Code Red Lifestyle include:
- Eating fiber and protein-rich diet.
- Eliminating sugar consumption.
- Eating three meals a day (no snacks).
- Cutting out the carbs (simple carbohydrates obtained through vegetables are allowed).
Cristy Nickel has not explained the reason behind naming her diet “code red.”
According to WebMD, “Code Red is a term often used to refer to a cardiopulmonary arrest.”
It cannot be confirmed if the Code Red Lifestyle is meant to tackle heart or lung-related issues. However, the low-carb and high-protein diet can help people lose weight — which is known to help people with cardiovascular diseases.
Code Red Diet Rules
The code red diet consists of ten commandments. The ten dieting rules you need to internalize while following the program include:
- No soda consumption.
- Vegetables with every meal (to the best of your ability).
- 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- A limit of 2-3 cups of coffee per day.
- That does not include mochas or lattes (so none of those).
- Only 2-3 meals per day (no snacks).
- No eating after 6:30 pm.
- Drink a gallon of water (at least) every day.
- No bread.
- No candy, sweets, or alcohol.
Note: These rules are to be enforced during the weight loss phase. Once your weight loss goal is achieved, you can change the rules a little for the maintenance phase.
Two Phases of the Code Red Diet
While the code red diet primarily targets people who want to shed excess body weight, it can be modified after you have achieved your goal body fat percentage. In the maintenance phase, you can bump up your carb intake.
While following the diet, you will be consistently weighing yourself at a dry weight — meaning, you will be stepping onto a weighing scale in the morning (butt-naked) after dropping the kids at the pool — if you know what we mean.
Also, you are required to keep a journal or record of your weight to monitor your transformation. It will help you assess your progress and make adjustments if and when necessary.
Why is it called a lifestyle and not a diet?
You could lose weight and get in the best shape of your life by following a diet, but if you want to keep the weight off, you need to make permanent changes to your lifestyle. The Code Red Lifestyle has internalized this principle and preaches it to its followers.
In the first phase of the diet, Cristy recommends eliminating all foods that do not help your weight loss goal. She also advises avoiding fruits, even with their natural sugar, as it spikes insulin.
While following the code red lifestyle, you need to be in a calorie deficit to quicken your weight loss — meaning, you need to be burning more calories than you consume in a day.
Protein becomes your primary macronutrient source on the diet since it can help you feel full for longer periods, and you won’t feel the need to snack in between your three meals.
The low carb and protein-rich diet help you enter a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes ketones — which it can use for fuel.
In layman’s terms, while following the code red diet, your body will be in a state of ketosis, and you will be burning fat throughout the day — even when you are not physically active.
Foods to Eat on the Code Red Diet
To get the best results from the Code Red Lifestyle, Cristy Nickel recommends adding the following foods to your diet:
1. Vegetables / Carbs
Almost all vegetables — except potatoes — are allowed on the diet. Nickel advises against eating potatoes as they have a high carb content that can interfere with fat-burning by keeping insulin levels too high.
On top of this, Cristy recommends avoiding fruits during the weight loss phase as it can spike your insulin levels.
“The fact it’s “natural” sugar doesn’t matter. Sugar is sugar, and it spikes more insulin,” says Cristy when asked about the reason for not including fruits in her diet. “Fruits are genetically modified to be bigger and sweeter than they would be naturally, that’s more sugar than needed in a weight loss diet.”
However, you are allowed to eat potatoes and fruits when you are in the maintenance phase after achieving your body weight goal.
The code red lifestyle is rather generous when it comes to healthy fats. It allows all the fats that you would eat on other mainstream diets — including avocadoes, butter, eggs, salmon, seeds, and nuts.
Although the weight loss phase of the diet recommends following a plant-based diet, you could add meat to your cart after switching to the maintenance phase.
Cristy’s preferred protein sources include tuna, chicken breast, salmon, oats, tofu, quinoa, turkey, salmon, cottage cheese, sirloin patties, and macadamia nuts.
Related: Calculate Daily Protein Intake.
When it comes to beverages, the code red lifestyle has one of the most elaborate and stringent rules. You are supposed to be drinking at least a gallon of water every day, a maximum of 2-3 cups of coffee, and no alcohol or carbonated drinks.
Benefits & Disadvantages of Code Red Diet
Here are some of the pros and cons of the code red lifestyle you should know about before starting the program:
1. Limited Number of Meals
Since the code red diet program requires you to eat only three meals a day, the meal prep is relatively easy compared to a bodybuilding diet program where you need to eat 5-8 meals a day.
However, since you will only be eating three times a day, you will have to stuff more food into your body to ensure you are not starving.
2. Working Out is Not Mandatory
The code red lifestyle is one of the very few weight loss programs on the market that does not include a mandatory workout routine. The program guarantees that you could shed up to 10 pounds in a month without doing any form of exercise.
3. Two Different Phases For Weight Loss and Maintenance
Most vanilla transformation programs have a static structure that you need to follow until you have reached your weight loss goal. However, the code red lifestyle gives you an option to adjust your diet and switch to a maintenance phase after you have achieved your target body fat percentage.
4. Does Not Require Buying Expensive Supplements
Unlike many other weight-loss diets, the code red diet does not push shakes or diet pills down your throat. Cristy Nickel expects you to achieve your dream physique while following a whole food natural diet.
1. Not For Bodybuilding Enthusiasts
If your goal is to build muscle mass, you probably aren’t going to achieve your goal while following the code red lifestyle. The diet is primarily targeted at individuals who are looking to shed weight.
A three meals a day calorie deficit diet plan is the exact opposite of what you need to build muscle mass.
2. Not Eating Carbs Has Its Disadvantages
As per research, consuming fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day can cause flu-like symptoms, also known as the keto flu. These include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and constipation — due in part to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that happen as your body adjusts to ketosis.
3. Rigidness of the “Lifestyle”
Cristy does not like her rebels (the name for code red lifestyle followers) breaking rules. Do you see the irony here?
Adding potatoes, fruits, and meat to your diet in the maintenance phase is the only leeway you get after meeting your weight loss goal. The 10 commandments could be a little too stringent for some people.
Difference Between Code Red & Keto Diet
Since code red is a low-carb and protein, fat, and fiber-rich diet, it is often confused with keto.
As per Cristy, there are three major differences between the code red lifestyle and the keto diet, including:
1. Code Red Emphasizes Sleep and Water
In addition to being a high-fat and low-carb diet, code red emphasizes the importance of sleep and water.
“You can do everything else right, but if you aren’t getting enough water and sleep, then sooner or later, you’ll stop losing weight,” explains Nickel.
2. Some Keto-approved High-Fat Foods are Not Allowed on Code Red
Cristy believes that some high-fat foods can stall weight loss in most people.
*Note: I could not find a list of keto-approved high-fat foods that are not allowed on the code red diet on the Code Red Lifestyle website.
3. According to Cristy, Keto has a “Toxic Diet Mentality” Attached To It
Nickel believes that people with a “diet mentality” are looking for a quick fix, and tend to abandon the diet once they have achieved their weight loss goal.
People with the “toxic diet mentality” usually end up regaining weight. On the other hand, Cristy preaches embedding the code red diet into your lifestyle.
Sample Code Red Meal Plan
The code red lifestyle requires you to eat three times a day. Here is a sample Cristy-approved meal plan:
- Breakfast: Bacon, fried eggs with Himalayan pink salt, and guacamole.
- Lunch: Air-fry chicken breaded with ground pork rinds and vegetables with butter and Himalayan salt.
- Dinner: Steak, green beans, mashed cauliflower with butter, and Himalayan salt.
Code Red Diet Recipes
Since the code red diet depends entirely on eating right for successful body transformation, you need to make sure you get your meals right.
Cristy has put out some delicious recipes in her code red cookbook.
Here are a few code red recipes recommended by Cristy Nickel:
1. Blackberry “Ice Cream”
- 1/2 cup full fat, plain Fagé Greek Yogurt (do not use non-fat, get the 4% fat option, and use plain because the flavored yogurts have tons of sugar and are not Code Red-approved)
- 1/4 cup fresh blackberries
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla (to taste)
- Splenda or Stevia to taste
- Scoop yogurt into a bowl. Add vanilla and sweetener, and stir until well-mixed.
- Add 1/4 cup frozen blackberries and stir to firm up the yogurt mixture.
- Your recipe is ready
2. Enhanced Code Red Pancakes
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Fitness Fiber
- Stevia or Splenda to taste
- Yields ten 3½ inch pancakes
While Cristy Nickel’s Instagram is full of client transformation photos — she posts one photo almost every day, we have not seen any research backing the code red diet.
I think Code Red Lifestyle’s website disclaimer is perfect for summing up the diet, so here it goes:
“Some weight-loss results featured on this website are not typical. The average person can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds weekly following the Code Red Lifestyle™, but there is no guarantee any weight loss will occur. Results vary because of many factors, including food eaten, water consumed, and sleep quantity.”